Message stick

Registration number
Item name
Message stick 
Indigenous name
Mawalan Marika  
Associated cultural group
Yolngu; Rirratjingu 
Australia > Australia > Northern Territory > East Arnhem region > Yirrkala Mission
Miss Audrey Fielding 
Acquisition date
January 01, 1950 
Acquisition method
by Miss Fleming 
H: W: 26 mm L: 157 mm D: Circum:


Rectangular message stick with 'handles' on either end - a smaller width, and no carving. Both faces are slightly convex towards the lateral edges. All faces, including lateral edges, are carved - a banded pattern of small squares on the faces, and squares and chevrons on the lateral edges. A goanna is carved on either face, facing opposite directions. '7678' is written on the handles.
157mm length, 25mm width, 10mm max breadth.

Research notes

Attributed to Mawalan 1 Marika. Message sticks were made by the organisers of a Ngarra ceremony and then sent out to djunggayi, managers of the opposite Yirritja moiety, inviting them to attend the ceremony associated with the Djang'kawu. This depicts the Djang'kawu goanna. (reference: Yalangbara, Art of the Djang'kawu [exhibition catalogue] 2008 pg 90)

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